The Dream of Flying

Page 55




  Franz Reichelt - A Modern Tower-jumper  (1912)  

Since ancient days there have been people that have equipped themselves with “wings” of different models and then jumped from a tower or another high place. Their intention was to fly; the result was usually a quick death. These persons was usually called “tower-jumpers”.

The Austrian-born tailor Franz Reichelt was a relative modern tower-jumper. He made his jump in 1912, several years after the first engine-powered flight. Reichelt was 33 years old when he, dressed in a suit that he hoped would act as a parachute, jumped from the Eiffel tower. Not from the top, but from the tower’s first platform 60 meters over the ground. The fall took five seconds.

A Swedish newspaper (see the clipping to the right) wrote about the event:

The man who jumped from the Eiffel tower and killed himself.
A tailor with the name Reichelt jumped on the 4th of February from the first platform of the Eiffel tower to test one of him invented parachute dress for aviators. The dress did not work, and Reichelt got his back broken and died immediately. His fall was so hard that the body bounced on the frozen ground before the eyes of the horror-struck spectators.”


Franz Reichelt, who jumped from the Eiffel tower. From a Swedish newspaper February 1912.


Reichelt has climbed up on the small table from which he made his jump some seconds later. His last words were "See you soon!".

Franz Reichelt, who jumped from the Eiffel tower.









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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2009-05-13